Evaluation of the efficacy of different conduits to bridge a 10 millimeter defect in the rat sciatic nerve in the presence of an axial blood supply

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Introduction: There are few studies on the use of human amniotic membrane and autologous veins as conduits for reconstructing peripheral nerve defects. It is not known if the presence of a local axial blood supply may enhance the result obtained with these options. The aim of this paper was to compare the efficacy of bridging a 10 mm long nerve defect of the sciatic nerve of the rat with these options compared to the traditional nerve autograft, in the presence of a nearby axial blood supply. Material and Methods: Forty five female Wistar rats were submitted to excision of a 10 mm segment of the right sciatic nerve preserving the epineural vascular plexus. The rats were then randomly allocated to reconstruction of the nerve defect with one of the following: autograft from the excised segment (Group A; n=15); autologous graft from the external jugular vein (Group B; n=15); conduit built from human amniotic membrane (Group C; n=15). Rats were assessed functionally (walking track analysis; electroneurography and ankle flexion strength) and structurally (histological and morphometrical assessments; gastrocnemius and soleus muscle weight recovery; neuronal retrograde marking with True Blue) at 4, 8 and 12 weeks. Results: The average results obtained for the evaluated parameters did not show significant differences, apart from a greater recovery of muscle mass in the Group C relatively to Group A at 12 weeks. The reconstructed nerves showed a normal architecture and blood supply. The amniotic membrane was well tolerated as a nerve conduit, persisting around the growing nerve until the 12th week. Conclusion: In the presence of an axial blood supply, human amniotic membrane and autologous veins are at least as effective as autografts for bridging 10 mm nerve defects in the rat.
Original languageUnknown
Pages (from-to)8-30
Issue number1
Publication statusPublished - 1 Jan 2014

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